Kenwood and a rock or two

I had been hoping to get out of town yesterday with the Ogre for a week-long expedition to some wild and remote territory, but a variety of last-minute factors postponed my departure. Not sure when I’ll be able to take off.

Meanwhile, today seemed perfectly bright and clear, so the Ogre and I went for a jaunt through some less wild and less remote territory. It was sunny and the thermometer eventually showed about 55, but it seemed almost cold. By the time I got back home, I was sweaty and chilly. Time for a mug of tea and big slice of my ace support crew’s fresh banana bread.

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They call me Old Grumble-Face. I have no idea why they do that....

14 response to "Kenwood and a rock or two"

  1. By: NancyG Posted: January 7, 2020

    Great photos, fun trip. The turkey vultures seem not at all disturbed by your presence, and in fact seem pleased to pose for you. Sorry about Grandmother Oak’s demise. I never like it when a tree is blown down and gone. The weather on this day of your ride looks ideal. I sit here in rain — envious of your blue sky and sun.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: January 7, 2020

      When I peeked over the boulders to see what was going on, they all had their wings extended to dry feathers in the sunshine. But I missed that cool shot, because as soon as I appeared, they all pulled their wings in, probably in preparation for a quick getaway if I moved any closer.

      By the way, I have always known this species of vulture as “turkey buzzards,” which seems to be the common name for them. Here’s a quiz question that has nothing to do with bikes, and only a very tenuous connection to rocks:

      What is the obscure rock (see?) band whose name is most closely associated with these birds?

      PS: Lots of rain in the forecast here, which is why I’m trying — unsuccessfully so far — to get out of town for a few days.

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: January 7, 2020

    Nice ride and beautiful scenery — so Gunsight Rock is that knob of stone?

    The gnarly trees look like some sort of orchard or are those also oaks?

    Looks like you recovered from your previous acrobatics and ambulance ride. 😉

    Just a guess on the rock band: Them Crooked Vultures?

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: January 7, 2020

      Yep, Gunsight Rock is actually a pair of side-by-side (and very close) knobs of rock that together look rather like a notched sight at the end of the barrel of a gun. With a little effort, both the knobs can be climbed, and both have flat tops. Each one is just barely large enough for a couple of people to sit. Great destination to eat PB&J sandwich, drink tea, and look out over the valley and surrounding area.

      The gnarly oaks were native to Sonoma County, and covered much of the land around here until many were chopped down by settlers. Still plenty of them around, but the “Grandmother Oak” was considered largest and oldest of them all, and now she’s gone.

      As to the band, that’s a good guess, and you deserve Honorable Mention, but there’s a better answer. Hint: Very obscure British band dating back to about 1969.

  3. By: gregblood Posted: January 7, 2020

    Remembering some of your other trips to deserts and mountains and canyons, I can’t wait to see where that week-long expedition to wild & remote territory is headed.

    I really like vultures/buzzards. They’re very underrated birds. I hope one day to see the biggest vulture of them all–the condor.

    • By: gregblood Posted: January 7, 2020

      Don’t know the answer to your trivia question regarding a band related to vultures, but I did see a reference in your blog to Sugarloaf which, as you probably know, is not only a park but also a band famous for “Green Eyed Lady.”

      • By: Bill Stone Posted: January 7, 2020

        Sugarloaf and “Green-Eyed Lady” deserves another honorable mention, but if rock devotee Greg didn’t come up with the intended answer, then the question is probably too difficult, so I’ll divulge what I was thinking:

        “Tucky Buzzard” had a short and not very successful run with a few albums in late 1960s thru early 1970s. I have one of their albums gathering dust in my vinyl collection. My understanding was that the band, although British, came up with the name from the southern (US) pronunciation of turkey buzzard. I can at least confirm that pronunciation was widespread when I lived in Virginia.

        So much for exciting turkey buzzard quiz. Maybe I should have posed my question in the form of an answer….

        • By: gregblood Posted: January 7, 2020

          “Vultures for $1,000, Alex.”

          “And the answer is Tucky Buzzard . . . Greg.”

          “What is the British band named for the southern pronunciation of turkey buzzard.”

          • By: Bill Stone Posted: January 7, 2020

            Sorry, Greg, but you forgot the question mark. Be sure to phrase your response in the form of a question.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: January 7, 2020

      Remembering some of your other trips to deserts and mountains and canyons, I can’t wait to see where that week-long expedition to wild & remote territory is headed.

      It’s a frightening thought, but this year I will turn 70. Yikes! Last night my ace support crew said she needed to speak seriously to me. Double yikes! I have now been officially informed that I need to get a SPOT or similar emergency communications device if I intend to undertake any more solo expeditions into wild and remote territory.

      • By: The Navigator Posted: January 12, 2020

        Nothing to do with age, Bill and all about being super-adventurous 🙂

        I’ll be joining the PLB club in my 40s, as soon as I recover enough to do challenging rides again and the bush has recovered enough from this fire season – many of the places I have ideas for remote-ish rides have burnt in these fires.

        • By: Bill Stone Posted: January 13, 2020

          After much online research and discussion with helpful folks at REI, we decided to get a Garmin Inreach two-way satellite communication device rather than a simple personal locator beacon. Picked it up yesterday. Although it costs more and requires a subscription for satellite access (without which it’s useless), the Inreach offers way more features. It’s also sufficiently configurable that we can both carry it. I can take it on backcountry bicycle trips, and she can take it on her death-defying backpacking expeditions in the wilderness. I don’t know what the heck we’ll do when we’re off the grid in different places at the same time! 😉

  4. By: The Navigator Posted: January 12, 2020

    I love those pics of the buzzards. Ed Abbey was such a big fan of them…
    I remember a very similar tree like that oak in the La Ventana wilderness near Monterey. Would that species have that range or would it have been something else? I just remember it being a big, shady tree with oak-type leaves and a spectacular view. It’s probably gone now – fires went through there some years ago.

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